After our analysis of diversity in executive committees (Comex) in the United States, today we present a new analysis of the situation in France. Our analysis reveals a worrying situation where ethnic diversity is almost absent from the executive functions (“C-Level”), and women are still in the minority. This snapshot must be seen in the context of the French regulation, which has imposed, by March 1st, 2023, the publication of a professional equality index to avoid gender discrimination. There is still a long way to go.
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Diversity in French companies: statistics
- 7% of the 100 executive committees researched are women, and 95.1% are of Caucasian (white) origin.
- 4% of CEOs are white.
- 6% of HR managers are women
- 14% of CEOs are women
- Black people (Sub-Saharan Africa) are almost absent from the management bodies. There are only 3 out of 889 people analyzed or 0.3%.
- The CDO/CTO function has the highest ethnic diversity (9.6%).
- The CTO/CDO function is the second most male-dominated (84.6% men) after the CEO function (86%).
- Asians are, after Caucasians (whites), the most represented ethnicity in French management committees (2.2%).
- People of North African origin represent only 2.1% of French executive committee members.
- Analysis of gender diversity in French executive committees
- Ethnicity of French executive committees: a striking imbalance
- List of companies analyzed
100 French companies, highlighted in the magazine Le Point, were selected (see list at the end of the article). We analyzed the composition of its executive or management committees for each. We coded the gender, ethnicity, and role of each member. When coding was problematic (14 people), another person resolved the issue to reach a consensus. Two companies were excluded from the final analysis because they appeared twice.
A total of 889 executive committee members were coded.
Among the 100 French companies analyzed, the objective set by the Rixain law (30% of women) has already been met!
Analysis of gender diversity in French management committees
The French government passed a law in 2018 requiring the publication of a professional equality index. It measures the wage gaps between men and women in companies with more than 50 employees. It is, therefore, in addition to the Rixain law on the feminization of management committees, which requires 30% of women in listed companies by 2026.
One statistic is often cited regarding the feminization of management committees in France. It is said that 22% of them are women. This statistic, often quoted but rarely sourced, comes from the Skema Observatory of the feminization of companies (according to the 2023 edition, this percentage is now 23.84%). However, this research is limited to CAC 40 and CAC Next 20 companies. In other words, it needs to reflect all French companies. The analysis we are providing you with therefore gives a complementary vision. Most analyzed companies are not included in the CAC 40 or the Next 20.
The objective set by the Rixain law (30% of women) has already been met! Within the 100 companies analyzed, 32.7% of the executive/management committees are women. A reading by function naturally brings some nuance (see also the graph below):
- CEO: this function is largely occupied by men (86%), slightly higher than the 82% we measured in large American companies.
- CFO: most of the finance function is held by men (69%), but this percentage is much lower than in the US (84% men). Therefore, France seems more open than the United States for this function.
- HRD: The human resources department also holds some surprises. It is usual for a woman to hold this position, which is true in France (57.6% women versus 42.4% men). Nevertheless, this result is very different from what we observed in the United States, where women held 81.4% of the position.
- CTO/CDO: without significant surprise, the position of “Chief Technology Officer” or “Chief Data Officer,” when it exists, is very male. There are 84.6% of men, which makes it the second most male-dominated position after the CEO. The trend was the same in the US executive committees (76.3% men and 23.7% women).
Now the most disturbing aspect of this research that of ethnicity.
In France, the proportion of non-whites on executive committees is only 4.6%.
Ethnicity of French management committees: a striking imbalance
In the second part of our research, we tackle an even more controversial issue than gender: the ethnicity of executive/management committee members. The least we can say is that French companies could be better performers.
First, our sample included 889 members of executive or management committees. The size of this sample is far from insignificant. We observe that 95.4% of these people are white (Caucasian origin). This is a factual finding that can be seen in the graph below. Ethnic diversity is not a priority in France as in the United States. Nearly 14% of the executive committees in this country are non-Caucasian (white). In France, the proportion of non-whites on executive committees is only 4.6%. No “C-Level” function is spared.
Here are the statistics by function.
|Position in the executive committee/management||Maghreb||Asie||Sub-Saharan Africa||Caucasians (white)|
|CTO / CDO||5,8%||3,8%||90,4%|
These statistics are all the more surprising given that France is a land of immigration for both Maghreb countries (Algeria in particular) and sub-Saharan Africa. It would have been logical to find these populations at the top of companies, as in American companies.
While all functions are affected by this under-representation, technical functions (CTO/CDO) are more open. Without a doubt, technical qualities take precedence over the origin of the candidates. Consequently, 9.4% of CTO/CDOs are of North African or Asian origin. This figure is to be compared with the 36.8% of non-white American CTO/CDOs.
The analysis of the diversity of 100 management committees of large French companies reveals some surprising results.
Regarding gender diversity, the proportion of women (32.7%) already exceeds the objectives set by the Rixain law. This figure is much higher than the proportion of women in CAC 40 and CAC Next 20 companies (23.84% in 2023).
Black people (sub-Saharan Africa) are almost absent from the management bodies since we found only 3 out of 889. As far as ethnic origin is concerned, French companies are very little diversified: 95.4% of members are white. In second place come the Asian members, who are only 2.2% ahead of the North Africans (2.1%).
List of companies analyzed
The companies we analyzed are the following:
- Adecco France
- Aéma Groupe
- Allianz France
- Alvarez & Marsal France
- Asus France
- AXA France
- Bayer France
- Belambra Clubs
- BMW Group France
- Bouygues Telecom
- Bridgestone France et Benelux
- CMI France
- Coca-Cola Europacific Partners France
- Consultants Immobilier
- Daniel Féau – Belles demeures de France
- Deloitte France et Afrique francophone
- Dream Yacht Group
- Ericsson France
- Europgroup Consulting
- Frans Bonhomme
- Generali Global Infrastructure
- Groupe Ægide Domitys
- Groupe Casino
- Iberdrola France
- ID Logistics
- IZI confort
- Janssen France
- Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices
- KELLOGG’S FRANCE
- KPMG France
- L’Oréal France
- Laforêt France
- Lenovo France
- Ligier Group
- LS Group
- Mazda France
- Meilleurs Agents
- Merck France
- Microsoft France
- Oracle France
- PepsiCo France
- Peters Surgical
- Peugeot Motocycles
- Picard Surgelés
- Radio France
- Rakuten France
- Reworld Media
- Risk & Co
- Shell France
- SNCF Gares & Connexions
- SNCF Réseau
- Société générale
- St Hubert
- Sycomore Asset Management
- Technip Energies
- Toyota France
- Truffle Capital
- Unilabs France
- Valode & Pistre
- Xilam Animation